My life coach says I’m ‘up to big things’, which explains why my mind’s been chattering lately with lots of self-talk. Not the happy Oprah kind.
I’ve learned this is a good time to sit on the floor beside my bed, take a few breaths, and listen to what’s going on between my ears. Instead of calm, peace and universally loving thoughts about my life, the words lately sound more like this:
“I can’t do that”
“I’ve had it hard and that’s why I’ll be a failure”
“I’m not smart enough – so-and-so is better at this than me”
“You’re not successful enough to try”
“People will be watching and you might make a mistake”
“You don’t know enough”
“You’re gonna fail”
“Someday you’ll be good enough to do this, but not right now”
“You’re selfish to even try”
“It’s gonna cost too much money”
It’s like I’m trying to talk myself out of success so I’ll have an excuse when things don’t go like I expect.
This pattern of self-destructive thinking is sometimes called monkey mind. Pretty accurate description, I’d say. That monkey in my head is distracting me, jumping all over the cage, throwing insults and trying to push me off my game. She’s on full blast when I’m getting ready to accomplish something I’ve never done before.
I used to think I was the only person who struggled with this. Other people just got up in the morning, made up their minds to do something and did it. No self-doubt, no ‘poor me’, no excuses. Now I know better.
The most successful people you know hear this same monkey jabbering away when it’s time to face a big task or step out of their comfort zone. Somehow they learn how to tame the monkey and go ahead anyway.
Me? I wrestle with the mind chatter every day. Sometimes the monkey wins, sometimes I do. On the good days, I manage to keep calm and focus on where I’m going and what I love – sharing what I know about holistic healing, herbal medicine, and how it changed my life.
On those other days, when the self-doubt bubbles up and threatens to sabotage my plans, I forgive the monkey, act gently with myself and breathe. Sometimes, I just write a blog.
How do you handle the self-destructive mind chatter? What’s your strategy to keep the monkey mind from holding you back? Do you have a little retreat in your home or office, or a mantra that helps you cope or get beyond the critic in your brain? I’d love to hear your ideas!